Belfast Telegraph

Family's 'miracle' as bicycle thieves return James' last gift from his father

By Allan Preston

A father's last gift to his son has been returned after being stolen by thieves.

James Brewster (9) was inconsolable after his silver mountain bike was taken from outside his house in the Pinebank area of Craigavon on Monday.

It was stolen a year to the day after his father, Phelim, a popular GAA player, died aged 43 after collapsing at home.

In an emotional appeal shared by this newspaper earlier this week, James's mother, Una Brewster, promised her son she would find the bike.

Yesterday, Una called its return "a miracle in Pinebank".

"It was the first time he (James) had cried over the last few days, with the whole build-up to the anniversary," she explained. "I said, 'We'll get this sorted, we'll get it back. I'll do a campaign on Facebook and put out an appeal'. He lit up at that. I thought I would try and speak to the person that did it."

After more than a thousand people shared the appeal on social media, the family were overjoyed when the bike appeared in their garden on Thursday.

Mrs Brewster shared a video of her son's stunned reaction when he returned from school.

"An amazing thing happened today, a miracle in Pinebank!" she said. "I was leaving the house to do the school run and someone had returned James's bike

"What a beautiful ending to this story, and one I had faith was going to happen, the reason being the incredible outpouring of concern from so many people.

"To whoever returned the bike, you have done an amazing thing - an incredible thing - and have made James one very happy boy. Thank you."

After cycling home from school yesterday, James told the Belfast Telegraph he could not believe his luck.

"When I came home from Gaelic after-school club, I went into the garden without knowing my mum had seen the bike," he said. "I actually looked at the bike and didn't think it was really there. I thought I was dreaming. It's the last thing my dad gave to me as a present.

"It was pretty amazing that so many people came on Facebook to try and find it, and everybody gave us huge support to try and find it. I've been barely off the bike since."

His mother added: "The amount of people who went out of their way, it renews your faith in human kindness."

She said it also showed how well thought of her late husband was, explaining: "He was known by everybody. He had time for everybody and loved to chat and have a good banter.

"It's made our Christmas already. James's younger brother, Michael (4), and sister, Clara (6), are over the moon, especially Clara, who cycled to school with him this morning.

"We'll be keeping it for ever - there's no doubt about it. It's a miracle bike."

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